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Great Empires: An Illustrated Atlas Hardcover – Nov 20 2012
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"Although this is a fine reference work crammed with facts on each page, it can also easily be read cover to cover. An accomplished and sensible resource for students in need of illustrations for reports and patrons looking for a general but informative historic overview of world empires."
—Rob Tench, Old Dominion Univ. Lib., Norfolk, Va.
“Although this is a fine reference work crammed with facts on each page, it can also easily be read cover to cover. An accomplished and sensible resource for students in need of illustrations for reports and patrons looking for a general but informative historic overview of world empires.”
About the Author
STEPHEN G. HYSLOP has written extensively for National Geographic and Time-Life Books, including Almanac of World History (with Patricia Daniels), Eyewitness to the Civil War, Atlas of the Civil War, and Bound for Santa Fe.
PATRICIA DANIELS has written, edited, or contributed to many National Geographic books on history, science, and geography, most recently Almanac of World History, New Solar System, Eyewitness to History, and National Geographic Encyclopedia of Space. The author lives in Alexandria, VA and State College, PA.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I have added further information to my initial review additions late August-- I hope the comments will help you pick you way through the complex issues of finding what atlas for what use
If you are looking for a general historical Atlas for School projects or you are interested in history but not a history buff I would suggest the DK Atlas of World History. I mention it at the bottom of this review were you will find why I think it is a much better value for money true it's not like the National Geographic one but you will get a much better view of the evolution and decay of empires from the DK Historical Atlas
Review of National Geographic Atlas
Given National Geographic's skill in map making I was hoping for more and better maps
The idea for the book is good and some of the features are useful as far as they go , but it could be much better.
There are a number of illustrations of marginal benefit - that get half or a whole page. A number of these illustrations date to centuries later- eg Hanging Garden of Babylon , or the comtempory by the waterside used to illustrate a saying from "The instruction of Ani" ( why are the saying mainly undated- an idea of what century it came from would help
Articles from the time period are usually annotated and dated on the page they occur on. A few other objects get the same treatment but most you have to go to the back and look for acknowledgements- often all this tells you is in which Museum it is in with no details on artist or date. This may seem like carping but sections on a given period should be illustrated by objects of the time_yes they are there but the later objects give so much wrong information- like the armour or dress of the time etc
My main grip is that more space could be use for maps
The Ancient Near East is illustrated by 2 maps. One from theAkkadian Empire and the second showing Babylonian Empire- also on the map is the Hittite empire, the Assyrian Empire, the Neo- Babylonian Empire and some other details. This would have been better shown it extra maps
The move towards the Holy Roman Empire with Charlemagne when he was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by the Pope in 800. The first Holy Emperor was Otto in the 950's ( Thnank you to the observatantbreader who noted by mistake-- see comments below) The map chosen to show the Holy Roman Empire shows it in 1648 - About 150 years before it collapsed under the reorganisation of Central Europe by Napoleon - why is only one map included
Why no clear identification of the 7 or so men who were the Electors-( several temporal rulers and several Major church leaders who Elected the Holy Roman Emperor-- as they had this power much political and other maneuvering occurred around them .Mozart's Prince Bishop in Salzburg from memory was one
One could note other maps
For a company that prides itself on it's maps this work is found wanting
I cannot understand why they made the choices they did. Why , if mapping is what they do so well did they put out a book that I think fails to achieve its aims. True, one would no doubt complain even if the maps were doubled but the complaint would carry much less force.
This book has some good maps But could have been so much better with more maps
The time lines in the sections and at the back are OK but far to brief
The text is fair (how can one say much in a few pages and some of the other features like sidebars an brief essays can be informative
The bibliography is strongly in favour of National Geographic titles. See other possible titles they should have listed
A better Choice
DK Atlas of World History
The DKmatlas is aimed to be helpful to student nearing the end of high school
It has a good set of editors
It has a vast number of maps and is crammed with a lot of accurate information
Part one Eras of World History. Prehistory to today-- a survey pages 10--113. This is a general survey
Covers prehistory--10,000, Early cites- 5 examples. Writing ,counting colanders,.. The Age of the Mongols-2 maps Then up to the present. I have given examples to show what a 2 page spread contains in part 2
I would have loved to show the same detail about part one
Part Two Regional History. Pages 114--287
###North America maps pages 116--138
124--125 Competing Empires 1200--1600
Map 1 The expansion of the Aztec Empire in post classical Central America
Map 2 Aztec Rule in the Valley of Mexico
Map 3 Tenochtitlan and satellite Towns
Map 4 Spanish Explloration and Colonisation in the New World 1492--1600
Map 5 Cortes invasion and conquest of Mexico 1519--1521
Pages 126--127 From Colonisation to independence
Map 1 the Colonisation of North America to 1750
map 2 Anglo French Conflict. 1754--1760
Map 3The American Revolutionary War
One could quote further examples from this section
##South America maps pages 140--150
##Africa. Maps Pages 154--168
##Europe. Maps Pages 170--217 up to 1999 in my edition
etc etc till
## Australasia and Oceania. Maps Pages 276--286
Subject index and Glossary
Brief 1 page bibliography- useful
Index and Glossary
The Glossary is full of facts
This Dk Atlas would a great atlas for the home I think it first came out in 1999-- I think any edition is Ok unless you want the absolute latest-- However that is very have to define with moving Russian and other boundaries. It is best to google these
It has been packed full of useful information. The General Editor has seen no space is wasted. The quality of the information is much ,much better that the National Geographic
Other works that should be mentioned include
The cultural atlases mentioned below are very good. The are well organised , they have a number of excellent maps and very useful special featurese where they focus on important topics
Using the Viking Atlas as an example
Atlas of the Viking World (Cultural Atlas) published by Facts On File Inc (1994)
OTHER USEFUL atlases are-- these should be in the bibliography
Atlas of ancient Egypt
Cultural Atlas of Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East
Atlas of the Roman World (Cultural Atlas of)
The Greek World (Cultural Atlas of)
Atlas of the Islamic World Since 1500 (Cultural Atlas of)
Cultural Atlas of Russia and the Soviet Union
Other atlases in this series cover The Viking World, Atlas of Medieval Europe, Japan, China (most can be searched for using "cultural Atlas ...---I put the links to those I cold find above
I found that this book painted broad strokes, and presented selective information. I was left wondering why they chose to discuss one seemingly minor detail while leaving out more significant info at times. This wasn't a big hindrance for two reasons:
1. When attempting to cover the entire history of civilization in less than 5,000 pages you are guaranteed to miss numerous details.
2. The seemingly random details covered in subsections presented interesting facts and stories even I was not aware of, so a book I expected to be merely a review actually presented new, enlightening info, a surprise I enjoyed.
As you could expect the pictures are rich and many in number.
If you are a history buff you will enjoy this book. If you are new to ancient history this book will be a wonderful, compelling introduction. In other words, this book blends simplicity and detail very well. Highly recommended.